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Jun 6, 2000 04:06 PM

J Gold's Korean reviews

  • d

I'm almost positive that Jonathan Gold wrote about a Korean restaurant with great kimchee recently somewhere, but I can't now find the review. I think the place was on Vermont? Would Jonathan or anyone who remembers this please point me in the right direction-- asap? I am also curious to know more about Bui San?, a sushi place on Western he reviewed. Was this Japanese,or Korean sushi? I welcome other Korean recommendations too.

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  1. You can find the review of the North Korean place with the great kimchi, Yongsusan, at, or you can just search this site for Tom's impressions of the place. Bu San on Western is my favorite Korean sushi place--tell one of the chefs you are interested in Korean-style sushi, and he'll set you up with a meal from the fourth dimension: sashimi with sliced chiles and whole cloves of raw garlic; raw sea cucumber in fermented bean paste; tuna with kimchi; live halibut sliced into sashimi before your eyes. Awesome.

    6 Replies
    1. re: j gold
      Dave Feldman

      Bu San sounds fantastic. Is anyone in New York doing this kind of Korean sushi?

      1. re: j gold
        Tom Armitage

        Jonathan, I had read your review of Bu San in the LA Weekly (though I like your Chowhound description even better), but had somehow missed your review of Yongsusan. I had earlier started a response to Deborah's question, but lost it to a cranky computer at work. Later, when I fired up my computer at home to try again, I saw your response and read your LA Weekly review. What a masterful description of the kimchi at Yongsusan! It is far better than what I had written, and I'm now glad that my computer scrubbed my earlier inferior response. Suffice to say that the bo sam kimchi at Yongsusan is a marvel of color, presentation, and complexity of flavor. The more fiery kimchi of southern Korea has its place, but for subtlety and elegance, its the kimchi at Yongsusan, hands down.

        Deborah, you asked about other places to eat Korean food. There are lots of good Korean restaurants in Koreatown. The Korean barbecue cooked over real wood charcoal at Soot Bull Jeep on 8th Street is very popular, although I wish it came with more interesting panchan. Other places to try include Beverly Soon Tofu, Sa Rit Gol for pork barbecue and baby octupus casserole, and a place near Vermont and Olympic (sorry I can't remember the name at the moment) for bibimbap. But, rather than rely on my recommendations or Jonathan's, you'll have the most fun just popping in to any Korean restaurant that looks interesting and checking it out. That's what I do.

        1. re: Tom Armitage

          I'm a bit late on this, but here are a few more suggestions:

          (1) Dong Il Jang on Eighth, just east of Western, on the north side of Eighth, is an excellent barbecue place. I recommend ordering their unmarinated meat offerings, rather than the usual kalbi or pulgogi. Choson Kalbi on Western, on the east side of the street, south of Olympic is also a good bbq place with good panch'an. Both are on the pricey side. The former is a little more cozy, with the smell of many years of barbecue ingrained in the upholstery, etc. Depending on whether or not you like this might help the decision making. Also, I'm not sure if this is common knowledge on Chowhound's, but when eating Korean bbq, a common combination is eating meat first, then having a cool bowl of naeng-myon afterward. Since portions of both meat and noodles are large here in the US, if you get the naeng-myon, I recommend splitting between two or three people one bowl. My experience has been that wait-staff will split it up for you in the kitchen. Choson kalbi is unique because you can actually order small-sized naeng-myons.
          (2) the place saritkol mentioned earlier has excellent toenjang chigae, also.

          (3) there's a place on olympic a ways west of western on the north side of the street. i think it's around crenshaw. it's roughly across the street from the big car wash. on the sign is written 'certified black angus beef' or something like that. it has good panch'an all around and their fish stews are also very good. bbq i also very good here.

          (4) there's a little place called 'san,' located on 8th, either just east or just west of vermont, on the south side of the street. it's in a small strip mall on the easternmost part; there's a chinese restaurant on the westernmost part. can't give better directions, excpet that it's east of "jons' market. anyway, it's a tiny place with just a few tables that does a lot of to-go orders. their samgye t'ang (chicken stew) is quite good.

          (5) I'm going way to long, so I'll stop at this one. Gilmok on James Wood, a block or two west on Vermont, on the nw corner is one of the original korean bbq places in LA. both panch'an and meat are just average, to be honest, but the prices are good and the portions are large. nonetheless, i enjoy eating meat here because of its atmosphere -- it feels like a classic, down-home kogi-jip in seoul. if you do have meat, eat quickly because the grilltops are of poor quality and the meat burns quickly. again, i recommend the non-marinated meat types. you have to order lettuce separately. you get a huge 'bouquet', if you can imagine a bouquet of lettuce. last but not least, they make a good bowl of tong ch'imi kuksu (noodles). it's another form of cold noodles. the soup is a type of kimch'i (tong ch'imi) that's not spicy. it seems like a lot of people don't have a taste for the branch of briny, water-based kimch'i of which tong ch'imi is a type, but it's excellent in the summer and it's worth going to gilmok, just for them. portions are enormous, so it definitely should be split between 2. if you tell the waitress beforehand, she'll put it into 2 bowls in the kitchen.

          1. re: Charles Kim

            Good post! Although I like Dong Il Jang perhaps a bit less than you do, it is still very good. It might also be mentioned that Chosun stays open very late, which makes it a useful restaurant at 2 a.m. when most other Korean restaurants (except for the coffeehouses and the fast food places like Elephant) are closed.

          2. re: Tom Armitage

            The restaurant that serves bibimbap, to which I was referring in my previous post, is Jeon Ju, located in a mini-mall on the southeast corner of New Hampshire Ave. and Olympic Blvd, one block west of Vermont Ave.

            Another place for good bibimbap is L.A. Toad, 4503 W. Beverly Blvd.

          3. re: j gold

            Thanks to both Jonathan and Tom. The LA Weekly links don't make it easy to find your backlist, Jonathan. There's a restaurant at Sixth and Ardmore, I think, that does a black cod I haven't had anywhere else. My manicurist also recommends a 24-hour place at Vermont and Olympic.

            Speaking of which, has there been any discussion of '24 hours' and 'late' here? Korean or otherwise. It shouldn't be this hard.